Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio address on Sunday urged people to shed vaccine hesitancy and not fall prey to rumors about COVID-19 vaccines. The prime minister also remembered legendary sprinter Milkha Singh, who recently passed away after a month-long battle with COVID-19 and spoke about Indian athletes participating in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Here are the key highlights from the prime minister's address:
- The prime minister said that while the fight against the virus is continuing, India had achieved an unprecedented feat of giving more than 86 lakh vaccine doses in a single day on 21 June, when the next phase of the vaccination drive started.
- Speaking to two persons from Dulariya village in Madhya Pradesh's Betul district, Modi addressed their doubt and counseled them to take the vaccine. "I want to tell villagers to get rid of the fear of vaccines. There are many villages in India that are 100 percent vaccinated," he said citing the example of Weyen village in Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora where every citizen above 18 years has been vaccinated. He also gave the example of three such villages in Nagaland.
- Attempting to dispel vaccine hesitancy, the prime minister said he has taken both the doses and so has his mother who is close to a 100 years of age. "At times, some people develop fever on account of this…but it’s very minor," he said. "Avoiding the vaccine can be very dangerous. You’re not only putting yourself at risk but also your family and the entire village," he stressed.
- "Rumour mongers will keep spreading it but we have to save lives. Don't remain under the delusion that COVID-19 has got over, it is a kind of disease in which the virus keeps changing its form. We must have confidence in our scientists who developed vaccines," Modi said. The prime minister added that there are two ways to protect against the virus, one is to follow COVID-19 protocol and the other is to get vaccinated.
- Modi hailed Milkha Singh's contribution to Indian sports and said he will always cherish his interactions with the athlete. "When he was in hospital, I got an opportunity to talk to him. While talking to him I had urged him. I had said that you have represented India in 1964 Tokyo Olympics, so this time when our players are going to Olympics in Tokyo, you have to boost the morale of our athletes, have to motivate them with your message. He was so committed and emotional for sports that he immediately gave his consent even during his illness. But unfortunately, providence had other plans," he said.
- The prime minister recounted the struggles and hurdles faced by athletes and sportsmen such as Deepika Kumari and Chirag Shetty, who are participating in the Tokyo Olympics."Every player going to Tokyo has had one’s own share of struggle, and years of toil. They are going not only for themselves but for the country," Modi said and urged people not to pressurise them but to support them and bolster their confidence.
- The prime minister also spoke about the arrival of the monsoon, stating that rain water collects in the ground and replenishes the water level. "And that's why I consider water conservation as a form of service to the country," he said.
- Modi also spoke about National Doctors Day which is celebrated on 1 July. "This day is dedicated to the birth anniversary of the great doctor and statesman of the country, Dr BC Roy. We are all grateful for the contribution of doctors in the Corona period. Our doctors have served us without caring about their lives. Therefore, this time around National Doctors Day becomes all the more special," he said while remaining people that it is our duty to thank doctors with equal measure of affection and encourage them.
- He extended wishes to all Chartered Accountants and their family members, on account of Chartered Accountants Day celebrated on 1 July. "Chartered Accountants can play a very worthy and positive role in bringing transparency to the economy," he said
The great feature of India's fight against the coronavirus is that each and every person of the country has played their part in it, Modi said and acknowledged the role of bank staff, teachers, small traders or shopkeepers, people working in shops, street vendors, security watchmen, postmen and post office employe, etc. "Innumerable people have been involved with government and administration at different levels," he said.
- With this Independence Day marking 75 years since independence, Modi said our matra should be of "India First." "Every decision of ours, every decision should have the basis - India First," Modi said.